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Belle Glade residents prepare for possible hurricane

Army Corps of Engineers has been improving Herbert Hoover Dike for years
City of Belle Glade
Posted at 5:36 PM, Sep 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-23 18:24:26-04

BELLE GLADE, Fla. — The storm track of the possible hurricane is still uncertain, but there is a possibility that the Glades and Lake Okeechobee could be in the path.

WPTV spoke with people in Belle Glade on Friday, who are aware of the area's history with tropical systems, and it all centers on Lake Okeechobee.

Residents just commemorated the Sept. 16, 1928 hurricane, which is believed to have killed between 1,800 and 2,000 people.

TRACKING THE TROPICS: Hurricane Center | Hurricane Guide

Most of the victims were African American and Bahamian farm workers, who were killed when Lake Okeechobee flooded into communities.

1928 hurricane memorial in Belle Glade
In 1928, Lake Okeechobee flooded several communities during a hurricane, killing 2,000 people.

These days the Herbert Hoover Dike around the lake protects the area. For the last several years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been working to fortify the structure.

Despite the improvements, Tammy Moore Jackson, who is known as the Guardian of the Glades, said it's the No. 1 worry.

"It's always in the back of our minds that Lake Okeechobee could possibly breach, but we are somewhat confident with all the work the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is doing on the dike that gives us some satisfaction that we are going to be safe from any breaches that may occur," Jackson said.

 Tammy Jackson Moore, known as the Guardian of the Glades.
Tammy Jackson Moore discusses preparations underway as residents monitor a possible hurricane impacting the area next week.

A spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers said the work on the dike is 97% complete, and it is in a much better place than it has ever been.

In and around Belle Glade on Friday, there were glimpses of people already putting up shutters and preparing for the storm.

"We're educating the people and making sure they have the necessary supplies, make sure they have the prescriptions because if they lose power, we need to make certain they have cash on hand," Jackson said.

Local pastors said they are also working with their congregations to help get people prepared, even setting up shelters.

"This community is very tenacious, and we've been through a lot," Jackson said.